Friday, October 19, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Rising from the Ashes: Resurrection of the Malagasy Chameleons Furcifer monoceras and F. voeltzkowi (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae), based on Micro-CT Scans and External Morphology

Furcifer monoceras (Boettger, 1913)
Furcifer voeltzkowi (Boettger, 1893)

in Sentís, Chang, Scherz, et al., 2018. 

The taxonomy of the Malagasy chameleon Furcifer rhinoceratus (Gray, 1845) is poorly resolved. The aim of this study is to clarify the taxonomic status of Chamaeleon voeltzkowi Boettger, 1893 and Chamaeleon monoceras Boettger, 1913 both only known from single or very few specimens mostly collected more than 100 years ago and currently considered as synonyms of Furcifer rhinoceratus. Using osteological data from micro-X-ray computed tomography (micro-CT) combined with traditional morphological characters and morphometrics we resurrect both taxa from the synonymy of F. rhinoceratus as F. voeltzkowi and F. monoceras, respectively. Compared to F. rhinoceratus, F. monoceras is smaller, has a relatively shorter tail, a longer and thinner rostral appendage, a poorly developed gular crest and no ventral crest, whereas F. voeltzkowi has a smaller rostral appendage, higher casque and the dorsal crest is continuous with the tail crest. Compared to the broad rostral appendage formed by the anterior protuberance of the premaxillary process of the maxilla, which has serrated edges in F. rhinoceratus, F. monoceras presents a long rostral appendage with a smooth dorsal edge that progressively narrows, and the nasal aperture is extended along the elongated appendage; F. voeltzkowi presents a smaller but curved rostral appendage with a crenate edge. The prefrontal and postorbitofrontal approach one another forming a large, laterally closed supraorbital fontanelle in F. rhinoceratus while in F. monoceras they do not approach, leaving a laterally open fontanelle, and in F. voeltzkowi the fontanelle is diminutive. Furcifer voeltzkowi also differs from the similar F. labordi by a smaller size of the rostral appendage, less bulging casque and body pholidosis. The former exhibits a conspicuous white lateral band comprising heterogeneous scalation. Furcifer labordi, on the other hand, has a homogeneous scalation with a remarkable reticulate pattern. Osteologically, the shape of the prefrontal and the connection of the postorbitofrontal with the parietal also differ greatly between the two. Using micro-CT scans we detected key differences that would be otherwise impossible to determine. We also provide a brief morphological and osteological description of the species and strongly recommend efforts to rediscover these two poorly known taxa in order to enable additional studies and to assess their conservation status.

Keywords: Reptilia, Squamata, Chamaeleonidae, micro-computed tomography, skull osteology, synonyms, cryptic species, Madagascar

Furcifer monoceras (Boettger, 1913) bona species

Distribution. The species is only known from the male holotype from Betsako east of Mahajanga. 

Furcifer voeltzkowi (Boettger, 1893) bona species  

Distribution. Boettger (1893: 120) gave the type locality as ‘Antema an der Bembatukabai, West Madagaskar.’....

 Marina Sentís, Yiyin Chang, Mark D. Scherz, David Prötzel and Frank Glaw. 2018. Rising from the Ashes: Resurrection of the Malagasy Chameleons Furcifer monoceras and F. voeltzkowi (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae), based on Micro-CT Scans and External Morphology.  Zootaxa. 4483(3); 549–566.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4483.3.7


[Entomology • 2018] New Species of Dolichopoda Bolívar, 1880 (Orthoptera, Rhaphidophoridae) from the Aegean Islands of Andros, Paros and Kinaros (Greece); Dolichopoda kikladica, D. margiolis & D. christos-nifoni

Dolichopoda kikladica Di Russo & Rampini

in Di Russo, Rampini, Chimenti & Alexiou, 2018.

In this paper two new species of Dolichopoda Bolívar, 1880 from the Cyclades islands of Andros and Paros and one from the Dodecanissos island of Kinaros, are described, increasing the total number of Greek species to 32. The new species from Paros (Dolichopoda kikladica Di Russo & Rampini, n. sp.) and Kinaros (Dolichopoda margiolis Di Russo & Rampini, n. sp.) show strong similarities with D. naxia Boudou-Saltet, 1972 from Naxos forming an homogenous group limited to the central Aegean islands. On the other hand the species D. christos-nifoni Di Russo & Rampini, n. sp. from Andros shows a combination of morphological characters that partly resemble characters found in Evvian Dolichopoda, and partly in species from the Cyclades. Relationships among these three new taxa and the other adjacent Dolichopoda species are discussed on the basis of the paleogeological and paleoclimatic events that shaped the present geography of the Aegean area.

KEYWORDS: Cyclades, Dodecanese, Aegean Sea, biogeography, new species

Habitus female Dolichopoda kikladica Di Russo & Rampini, n. sp. 

 Claudio Di Russo, Mauro Rampini, Claudio Chimenti and Sotiris Alexiou. 2018. New Species of Dolichopoda Bolívar, 1880 (Orthoptera, Rhaphidophoridae) from the Aegean Islands of Andros, Paros and Kinaros (Greece). ZOOSYSTEMA40(20); 469-479.  DOI: 10.5252/zoosystema2018v40a20 

RÉSUMÉ: Nouvelles espèces de Dolichopoda Bolívar, 1880 (Orthoptera, Rhaphidophoridae) des îles égéennes d'Andros, de Paros et de Kinaros (Grèce).  Dans cet article, deux nouvelles espèces de Dolichopoda Bolívar, 1880 sont décrites des îles Cyclades, Andros et Paros, et une autre des îles Dodecanissos, Kinaros, portant à 32 le nombre total d'espèces grecques. Deux de ces espèces, D. kikladica Di Russo & Rampini, n. sp. de Paros et D. margiolis Di Russo & Rampini, n. sp. de Kinaros, présentent de fortes similitudes avec D. naxia Boudou-Saltet, 1972 endémique de Naxos, formant un groupe homogène limité aux îles égéennes centrales. D'autre part, l'espèce D. christos-nifoni Di Russo & Rampini, n. sp. d'Andros présente une combinaison de caractères morphologiques, qui ressemblent en partie à des caractères trouvés dans les Dolichopoda d'Eubée, et, en partie, à des caractères des espèces des Cyclades. Les relations entre ces trois nouveaux taxons et les autres espèces de Dolichopoda proches géographiquement sont discutées sur la base des événements paléogéologiques et paléoclimatiques qui ont façonné la géographie actuelle de la région égéenne.
 Mot clés: Cyclades, Dodecanese, mer Égée, biogeographie, espèces nouvelles

Thursday, October 18, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Lycodon banksi • A New Species of the Genus Lycodon Boie, 1826 (Serpentes: Colubridae) from Khammouane Province, central Laos

Lycodon banksi  
Luu, Bonkowski, Nguyen, Le, Calame & Ziegler, 2018

We describe a new species of the genus Lycodon Boie based on an adult male specimen from Khammouane Province, central Laos. Lycodon banksi sp. nov. is distinguished from its congeners by a combination of the following characters: (1) SVL 415 mm; (2) dorsal scales in 17–17–15 rows, dorsal scales on the anterior 2/3 of the body length smooth, the six central dorsal scale rows of the posterior 1/3 of the body length feebly keeled; (3) supralabials 8; (4) infralabials 10; (5) loreal in contact with the eye; (6) cloacal single; (7) ventral scales 241; (8) subcaudals 26+, paired (tail tip lost); (9) dorsal surface of body with 87 greyish yellow blotches; (10) dorsal surface of tail with 11+ light bands (tail tip lost); (11) ventral surface of body and tail uniformly grey cream. Based on the molecular comparisons, Lycodon banksi sp. nov. is placed in a clade with other species previously considered to be members of the separate genus Dinodon, except for L. futsingensis. The new species is at least about 9% genetically divergent from other species within this clade as shown by a fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome b. Morphologically, the new species is distinguishable by its size, scalation, and colour pattern. This discovery increases the number of Lycodon species known from Laos to eleven species.

 Key words: New species, Lycodon, Laos, karst forest, morphology, phylogeny, taxonomy.

Fig. 2. Adult male holotype of Lycodon banksi sp. nov. (VNUF R.2015.20) in life.
(A) dorsolateral view. (B) Head in dorsolateral view. (C) Head in dorsal view.
Photos: V. Q. Luu.

Lycodon banksi sp. nov.

Diagnosis. Lycodon banksi sp. nov is characterized by the following morphological characters: (1) SVL 415 mm (2) dorsal scales in 17–17–15 rows, dorsal scales on the anterior 2/3 of the body length smooth, the six central dorsal scale rows of the posterior 1/3 of the body length feebly keeled; (3) supralabials 8; (4) infralabials 10; (5) loreal entering orbit; (6) cloacal single; (7) ventral scales 241; (8) subcaudals 26+, paired (tail tip lost); (9) dorsal surface of body with 87 greyish yellow blotches; (10) dorsal surface of tail with 11+ light bands (tail tip lost); (11) ventral surface of body and tail uniformly grey cream.

Etymology. The species naming is dedicated to our friend and colleague Chris Banks, International Coordinator, Philippine Crocodile National Recovery Team, Zoos Victoria, Australia, for his outstanding contributions towards amphibian and reptile conservation, in particular of the Philippine Crocodile. We propose the following common names: Banks' Wolf Snake (English), Banks Wolfszahnnatter (German). 

Natural history. The specimen was found at 20:39, crawling on a limestone outcrop in the karst forest, approximately 0.3 m above the forest floor, at an elevation of 167 m a.s.l. The humidity at the time of collection was approximately 85% and the air temperature ranged from 23 to 26oC (Fig. 6).

Vinh Quang Luu, Michael Bonkowski, Truong Quang Nguyen, Minh Duc Le, Thomas Calame and Thomas Ziegler. 2018. A New Species of the Genus Lycodon Boie, 1826 (Serpentes: Colubridae) from Khammouane Province, central Laos.   Revue suisse de zoologie; annales de la Société zoologique suisse et du Muséum d'histoire naturelle de Genève. 125(2); 263-276.  DOI:  10.5281/zenodo.1414221  

[Crustacea • 2018] Allorchestoides rosea • A New Genus and Species of Dogielinotid Amphipod (Amphipoda: Dogielinotidae) from the Nipa Palm in Thailand, with An Updated Key to the Genera

Allorchestoides rosea 

Wongkamhaeng, Dumrongrojwattana & Shin, 2018

During a scientific survey, a new genus of the dogielinotid amphipoda was found in the Nipa palm (Nypa fruticans) in Bang Krachao Urban Oasis, Samut Prakan Province, Thailand. We placed this new genus, Allorchestoides gen. nov., within the family Dogielinotidae. The new taxa can be easily distinguished from the remaining genera by differences in the incisor of the left and right mandibles, apical robust setae of the maxilla 1, and the large coxa and strong obtuse palm in the female gnathopod 1. The type species of Allorchestoides gen. nov., Allorchestoides rosea n. sp., is described here in, with an updated key to the genera of the family Dogielinotidae.

Order Amphipoda Latreille, 1816

Suborder Senticaudata Lowry & Myers, 2013

Family Dogielinotidae Gurjanova, 1953

Fig 2. Allorchestoides rosea sp. n., holotype, male, (PSUZC-CR-00300).

Allorchestoides gen. n. 

Diagnosis: Male. Mouthparts, mandible, right incisor process four dentate; left incisor process six dentate; accessory setal row present; molar triturative. Maxilla 1 outer plate with six distal setal-teeth. Maxilla 2, inner plate with an enlarged proximal seta; outer plate subequal to inner plate in length. Maxilliped, outer plate shorter than article 2 of maxilliped palp; palp well-developed, dactyl unguiform. Coxal plates 1–4 deep, subrectangular; coxal plate 1–3 posterior marginal cusp absent. Gnathopods sexually dimorphic. Male gnathopod 1 weakly chelate; carpal lobe well-developed; palm slightly protruding at palmar corner, dactylus fitting palm. Gnathopod 2 propodal palm smoothly concave, interior margin lined with pappose setae. Epimeral side plates ordinary, plate 2 deepest. Pleopods peduncle with 2 small retinacula;

Female. Gnathopods 1 and 2 weakly chelate; carpal lobe well-developed, surpassing over propodus.

Type species: Allorchestoides rosea, new species, here designated.

Etymology: The specific name, Allorchestoides, alludes to fact that the new genus is allied to Allorchestes Dana, 1849. The gender is feminine as the gender adopted by its original authors.

Remarks: The new genus is similar to Allorchestes Dana, 1849, from the north and south Pacific, because it has a dactylus of maxilliped unguiform; carpus of male gnathopod 2 lobate, projecting between the merus and propodus; uropod 3 uniramus; and telson cleft that is half-length. However, the 1-articulate maxilla 1 palp in Allorchestes is reduced and tiny, not reaching the base of the setal-teeth of the outer lobe, while that of Allorchestoides gen. n. is absent.

Fig 3. Allorchestoides rosea sp. n. holotype male (PSUZC-CR-00300).
 (A) male body, lateral (PSUZC-CR-00300), (B) antenna 1, (C) antenna 2, (D) gnathopod 1, (E) gnathopod 2. 
Scales bars: 0.5 mm. 

Fig 7. Allorchestoides rosea sp. n. Allotypes, female, (PSUZC-CR-00301). 
(A) Female body, lateral, (B) antenna 1, (C) antenna 2, (D) gnathopod 1, (E) gnathopod 2. 
Scales bars: 0.5 mm.

Allorchestoides rosea n. sp.  

Etymology: This species is named after the distinct reddish color while the amphipod alive (Fig 2).

Type locality: THAILAND, Bang Krachao Estuary near Chao Phraya River mouth (13°41'47.4"N 100°33'52.4"E), Nipa Palm leafs in mangrove forest, 2016, Dumrongrojwattana,P.

Type material: Holotype. ♂, PSUZC-CR-0300. Allotype, ♀ collected with holotype;..

Fig 1. Map of sampling area; THAILAND, Bang Krachao Estuary near Chao Phraya River mouth. 

Koraon Wongkamhaeng , Pongrat Dumrongrojwattana, Myung‐Hwa Shin. 2018. Discovery of A New Genus and Species of Dogielinotid Amphipod (Crustacea: Amphipoda: Dogielinotidae) from the Nipa Palm in Thailand, with An Updated Key to the Genera. PLoS ONE. 13(10); e0204299.  DOI:   10.1371/journal.pone.0204299

[Cnidaria • 2018] Hana hanagasa & H. hanataba • Stolonifera from Shallow Waters in the north-western Pacific: A Description of A New Genus and Two New Species within the Arulidae (Anthozoa, Octocorallia)

[a - b] Hana hanagasa [c - f] H. hanataba
Lau, Stokvis, van Ofwegen & Reimer, 2018

A new genus and two new species of stoloniferous octocorals (Alcyonacea) within the family Arulidae are described based on specimens collected from Okinawa (Japan), Palau and Dongsha Atoll (Taiwan). Hana gen. n. is erected within Arulidae. Hana hanagasa sp. n. is characterised by large spindle-like table-radiates and Hana hanataba sp. n. is characterised by having ornamented rods. The distinction of these new taxa is also supported by molecular phylogenetic analyses. The support values resulting from maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference analyses for the genus Hana and new species H. hanagasa and H. hanataba are 82/1.0, 97/1.0 and 61/0.98, respectively. Hana hanagasa sp. n. and Hana hanataba sp. n. are the first arulid records for Okinawa, Palau, and Dongsha Atoll, and represent species of the second genus within the family Arulidae.

Keywords: Arulidae, COI, molecular phylogeny, mtMutS, north-western Pacific, octocoral, 28S rDNA, Stolonifera, taxonomy

Figure 2. In situ photographs of examined Hana specimens from
 Okinawa,  a  Hana hanagasa, holotype, OKA170711-15 and b Hana hanagasa, paratype, OKA170711-06;
Palau c Hana hanataba holotype, ROR171225-01 and d Hana hanataba, paratype, ROR171226-03;
Dongsha e Hana hanataba, paratype, DSX180320-1-01 and f Hana hanataba, paratype, DSX180324-3-15
g specimen BKI180320-2-10, an arulid photographed in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Sabah, Malaysia
h Hana hanagasa, holotype, OKA170711-15, colony preserved in ethanol. Scale bar: 1 mm.

Class Anthozoa Ehrenberg, 1831
Subclass Octocorallia Haeckel, 1866
Order Alcyonacea Lamouroux, 1812

Family Arulidae McFadden & Ofwegen, 2012

Type genus: Arula McFadden & Ofwegen, 2012

Diagnosis: (after McFadden and Ofwegen 2012). Alcyonacea with polyps that have tentacles that are fused proximally into a broad, circular oral membrane. Sclerites in the form of table-radiates.

Genus Hana gen. n. 

Type species: Hana hanagasa, sp. n., by original designation.

Diagnosis: Colony with polyps connected through flat and thin ribbon-like stolons. Anthocodiae (retractile portion of polyp) retract into cylindrical to clavate calyces. Tentacles are fused proximally, forming a broad, circular oral membrane. The oral membrane has eight deep furrows, which run from the intertentacular margin to the mouth of the polyp, giving it a plump appearance. Sclerites of anthocodia are rods. Sclerites of calyx are 6-radiates and table-radiates. The main difference between Hana and Arula is in sclerites found in the type species Hana hanagasa sp. n. and Arula petunia in the stolon. Sclerites of the stolon are fused sheets that form a flattened network of table-radiates in H. hanagasa, while in A. petunia they are similar to the separate table-radiates found in the calyx. Additionally, there is a difference in sizes of the table-radiates, being longer in H. hanagasa than in A. petunia. Sclerites colourless. Zooxanthellate.

Etymology: From the Japanese language ‘hana’ (), meaning flower; denoting the shape of the polyps, which resemble flowers. Gender: feminine.

Figure 1. Map of sampling sites at three locations in the north western Pacific;
 a Okinawa Island (Japan) b Dongsha Atoll (Taiwan); and c Palau.

Hana hanagasa sp. n.

Distribution: Northwest coast of Okinawa Island and southeast coast of Iheya Island in the East China Sea.

Remarks: Arula and Hana are the only two genera within the family Arulidae. Arula petunia and H. hanagasa have very similar polyp morphologies with only a clear difference in polyp colour. Oral disk and tentacles of A. petunia are blue in life and white and brown in H. hanagasa, respectively. This would suggest assignment to the same genus, however, the combination of differences in genetic data and sclerite morphology indicate that they should be separate from each other at the generic level. The possibility that there are similar species or previous descriptions and reports on arulid species has previously been discussed (McFadden and Ofwegen 2012) and so far, no reports have been made on possible congeners.

Etymology: From the Japanese language ‘hanagasa’ (花笠), the traditional Okinawan ceremonial dance headpiece worn by female performers; denoting the shape of the polyps, which resembles the flower headpiece.

Hana hanataba sp. n.

Distribution: The south-east of Palau in the Philippine Sea and the north to north-east reef of Dongsha Atoll, Taiwan in the South China Sea.

Remarks: Hana hanagasa and Hana hanataba have very similar polyp morphology, with minor colour differences, which could be due to differing abundances of zooxanthellae. Genetic data and sclerite morphology indicate that H. hanagasa and H. hanataba should be separated from each other at the species level. Sclerites found in H. hanataba are different from those in H. hanagasa in the presence of ornamented rods, which are lacking in H. hanagasa. It is noteworthy that both H. hanagasa and H. hanataba were found in environments with the presence of a comparatively strong current.

Etymology: From the Japanese language ‘hanataba’ (花束), meaning bouquet; denoting the multitude of polyps resembling arranged flowers.

 Yee Wah Lau, Frank Robert Stokvis, Leendert Pieter van Ofwegen and James Davis Reimer. 2018. Stolonifera from Shallow Waters in the north-western Pacific: A Description of A New Genus and Two New Species within the Arulidae (Anthozoa, Octocorallia). ZooKeys. 790: 1-19.  DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.786.28875

[Paleontology • 2018] Mistralazhdarcho maggii • A New Azhdarchid Pterosaur from the Upper Cretaceous of Southeastern France

 Mistralazhdarcho maggii
Vullo, Garcia, Godefroit, Cincotta & Valentin, 2018

A series of pterosaur bones from the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian) of Velaux (Bouches-du-Rhône, southeastern France) is described. This material, including both cranial and postcranial elements found in close association and likely belonging to a single immature individual, is assigned to a new genus and species of azhdarchid pterosaur, Mistralazhdarcho maggii. This large-sized taxon (wingspan ca. 4.5 m in the holotype, possibly reaching 5–6 m in mature individuals) is characterized by a slightly downturned mandibular symphysis that shows a ‘V’-shaped cross-sectional profile and bears a well-developed, anteriorly located median eminence on its dorsal surface. The presence of a median eminence suggests that Mistralazhdarcho might be closely related to Alanqa from the Cenomanian of Morocco. The material described here represents the first partial skeleton of a pterosaur recovered from the Late Cretaceous deposits of western Europe, and the new taxon is one of the most completely known European azhdarchids. Mistralazhdarcho is intermediate in size between the medium-sized genus Eurazhdarcho and the giant-sized genus Hatzegopteryx, two azhdarchids from the Maastrichtian of Romania. The discovery of Mistralazhdarcho suggests the presence of a third azhdarchid size class in the continental ecosystems of the latest Cretaceous European archipelago.

 Mistralazhdarcho maggii 
Reconstruction by Mazan 2018 pour Palaios 

PTERODACTYLOIDEA Plieninger, 1901 

AZHDARCHOIDEA Nessov, 1984  (sensu Unwin, 2003)

AZHDARCHIDAE Nessov, 1984 


Etymology: Genus name formed by a combination of ‘Mistral,’ a strong, cold, northwesterly wind blowing in southeastern France, and Azhdarcho, the type genus of the Azhdarchidae. Specific epithet in honor of Jean-Pierre Maggi, mayor of Velaux, for his support in the development of the La Bastide Neuve paleontological project.

Romain Vullo, Géraldine Garcia, Pascal Godefroit, Aude Cincotta and Xavier Valentin. 2018. Mistralazhdarcho maggii, gen. et sp. nov., A New Azhdarchid Pterosaur from the Upper Cretaceous of Southeastern France.   Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2018.1502670  


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

[Mollusca • 2018] Sacoproteus gen. n. • Cryptic Speciation yields Remarkable Mimics: A New Genus of Sea Slugs that masquerade as Toxic Algae (Caulerpa spp.)

Sacoproteus smaragdinus  (Baba 1949), 

Krug, Wong, Medina, Gosliner & Valdés, 2018

“Cryptic” can refer to species that match their background through camouflage or disruptive colouration, or in taxonomy to externally similar but unrecognized congeners. In adaptive resemblance, organisms resemble parts of a larger host animal or plant on which the mimic is highly cryptic. Mimetic lineages that radiate onto superficially similar hosts may contain cryptic species in both senses: taxa that are difficult to detect, and challenging for taxonomists to distinguish. Here, we describe a new genus and four species of herbivorous sea slugs (Gastropoda, Heterobranchia, Sacoglossa), including remarkable mimics of toxic green algae (Caulerpa spp.) on which the slugs feed. The long‐recognized Stiliger smaragdinus Baba 1949 is highly mimetic of “sea grapes” (Caulerpa racemosa‐lentillifera), but phylogenetic analyses of four genes indicated Stiliger was polyphyletic: the name‐bearing species grouped within Placida, whereas Caulerpa‐mimetic lineages were phylogenetically distinct. We erect the genus Sacoproteus gen. n. for S. smaragdinus (Baba 1949), and describe four new speciesSacoproteus nishae sp. n. from the Indo‐Pacific, which mimics Caulerpa chemnitziaSacoproteus yhiae sp. n. and Sacoproteus browni sp. n. from southern Australia, which mimic Caulerpa cactoides and Caulerpa gemminata; and Sacoproteus thomasleei sp. n., a non‐mimetic west Pacific species that shared key features. Stiliger s.s. and Placida species show crypsis and aposematism but not host mimicry, although Stiliger spp. feeding on undefended algae may be Batesian mimics. Investigating the ecology and biogeography of Sacoproteus gen. n. will yield insight into how selection generates such extraordinary examples of adaptive resemblance in the marine realm.

KEYWORDS: aposematism, coevolution, cryptic species, heterobranch, mimicry, phylogenetic systematics

FIGURE 1 Photographs and illustrations of live specimens in the Stiliger smaragdinus complex.
 (a) Sacoproteus smaragdinus gen. n. (bottom arrow indicates white rhinophores, body of slug above) and S. nishae sp. n. (top arrow indicates pale green rhinophores, body of slug below) from Malaysia, cryptic on the alga Caulerpa lentillifera. (b) Live S. smaragdinus from Malaysia showing diagnostic stripes on head and pointed ceratal tips. (c) Specimen of S. smaragdinus from the Philippines (CASIZ 199257). (d) Original illustration accompanying description of S. smaragdinus (Baba, 1949). (e) Close‐up of specimen of S. nishae sp. n. from Malaysia, showing mushroom‐shaped cerata and distinctive head markings. (f) Holotype of S. yhiae sp. n. (AM 469592) from New South Wales, Australia. (g) Caulerpa cactoides, a preferred host alga for S. yhiae sp. n., from Bunurong Marine National Park, Victoria, Australia; photo credit: Julian Finn, Museums Victoria. (h) Holotype of S. thomasleei sp. n. (LACM 3496) from Guam; actual body length of specimen = 3 mm


 From their torpedo-like shape to their white tips, the bulbs on Sacoproteus smaragdinus's back look just like the sea grapes of Caulerpa lentillifera.

Sacoproteus gen. n.

We erect the genus Sacoproteus gen. n. for S. smaragdinus (Baba 1949), 

four new species
Sacoproteus nishae sp. n. from the Indo‐Pacific, which mimics Caulerpa chemnitzia

 Sacoproteus yhiae sp. n. and Sacoproteus browni sp. n. from southern Australia, which mimic Caulerpa cactoides and Caulerpa gemminata

Sacoproteus thomasleei sp. n., a non‐mimetic west Pacific species that shared key features. 

Sacoproteus nishae's mushroom-shaped bulbs let it blend in perfectly with the algae Caulerpa chemnitzia.  

Patrick J. Krug, Nur Leena W. S. Wong, Melanie R. Medina, Terrence M. Gosliner and Ángel A. Valdés. 2018. Cryptic Speciation yields Remarkable Mimics: A New Genus of Sea Slugs that Masquerade as Toxic Algae (Caulerpa spp.). Zoologica Scripta.  DOI: 10.1111/zsc.12310

Stunning new sea slug species look just like seaweed via @NatGeo


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

[Ichthyology • 2018] Scolopsis meridiana • A New Species of Monocle Bream (Perciformes: Nemipteridae) from northern Australia

Scolopsis meridiana 
Nakamura, Russell, Moore & Motomura, 2018

Scolopsis meridiana n. sp., described from 30 specimens collected from northern Australia, is closely related to S. taenioptera, both species having a dorsal scaled area on the head extending anteriorly to between the anterior margin of the eye and anterior nostril, the upper part of the pectoral-fin base with a reddish blotch when fresh, and lacking a small antrorse spine below the eye. However, the new species is distinguished from the latter by having two bands across the snout dorsum (vs. one band in S. taenioptera), 18–20 diagonal lines on the lateral body surface below the lateral line (diagonal lines absent), the posterior nostril horizontally elongated (vertically elongated), a deep caudal-peduncle and short pre-dorsal-fin length. Scolopsis meridiana is distributed in northern Australia, whereas S. taenioptera occurs in Southeast Asia. Two geographic populations of S. taenioptera (Philippines and remaining Southeast Asian region) are recognized following morphological and genetic analyses.

Keywords: Pisces, taxonomy, morphology, Teleostei, Scolopsis taenioptera, Sundaland, Sahul Shelf

Scolopsis meridiana n. sp.
CSIRO H 4029–01, holotype, 194.8 mm SL, north of Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia, Australia.
 fresh condition photo by CSIRO.

Scolopsis meridiana n. sp. 
[New English name: Sahul Monocle Bream]

Etymology. The specific name “meridiana” is derived from Latin meaning “south”, in reference to the southern distribution of the species, relative to that of S. taenioptera, with which it has been confused.

Jumpei Nakamura, Barry C. Russell, Glenn I. Moore and Hiroyuki Motomura. 2018. Scolopsis meridiana, A New Species of Monocle Bream (Perciformes: Nemipteridae) from northern Australia. Zootaxa.  4500(2); 222–234.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4500.2.4

Monday, October 15, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Multilocus Phylogeny and Revised Classification for Mountain Dragons of the Genus Japalura s.l. (Agamidae: Draconinae) from Asia

Japalura s.l. 

in Wang, Che, Lin, Deepak, Aniruddha, et al., 2018. 

Although the genus Japalura s.l. has long been recognized as paraphyletic based on limited genetic sampling, its problematic taxonomy has not been revised, and phylogenetic relationships among the majority of congeners remain unknown. Here we utilize a densely sampled dataset of both multilocus genetic and morphological data to provide the first phylogenetic inference of relationships among Japalura s.l.species. Our results show that Japalura s.l. is paraphyletic, consisting of four major clades that are scattered across the phylogeny of the subfamily Draconinae: the first clade from the western, central and middle-eastern Trans-Himalayas, the second clade from the far eastern Trans-Himalayas, the third clade from East Asia and the last clade from Indochina. To address this widespread paraphyly of the genus and to stabilize the taxonomy within the family Draconinae, we revise the current taxonomy and split Japalura s.l. into four genera. By doing so, we recognize two existing generic names, Japalura sensu stricto and Pseudocalotes, resurrect one name available in the literature, Diploderma, and describe one new genus, Cristidorsa gen. nov. We discuss phylogenetic relationships and taxonomy within Japalura s.l. and present a diagnostic key to all recognized genera of the subfamily Draconinae.

Keywords: China, India, integrative taxonomy, lizard, new genus, Tibetan Plateau

Figure 2. Phylogenetic relationships among Japalura sensu lato based on both Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Analyses of two mitochondrial genes (COI and ND2), tRNAs and three nuclear genes (BDNF, CMOS, and R35). Maximum Likelihood bootstrap and Bayesian posterior probability values are included at all nodes, except (1) terminal nodes that unify multiple individuals of the same species [which all have 1.00/100 support (Bayesian/Maximum Likelihood)]; and (2) non-conflicting (either kind of analysis yielded significant supports) yet inconsistent nodes between two types of analyses (e.g. nodes unifying clades I and J), in which only the Bayesian posterior probability is given. Photos of selected species of Japalura s.l. are included (scaled to reflect relative sizes of each species) with their current taxonomic names (vs. revised taxonomic names, summarized in taxonomic accounts).

Taxonomic accounts 
Japalura Gray, 1853
 Etymology: The Latin name ‘Japalura’ may be derived from a locality name in India, and the term is feminine gender. We suggest the English common name as ‘Himalayan Dragon’, and the Chinese name as ‘攀蜥’ (pronounced as ‘Pan-Xi’). 

Type species: Japalura variegata, Gray, 1853.

Included species: Based on our phylogenetic results, we assign the following species to the genus Japalura sensu stricto: J. andersoniana, J. kumaonensis, J. tricarinata and J. variegata. Following our morphological results and proposed morphological diagnoses, we also assign J. dasi, J. major and J. sagittifera into this genus, pending future phylogenetic studies.

Cristidorsa Wang, Deepak, Datta-Roy, Lin, Jiang, Che & Siler gen. nov.

 Etymology: The Latin term ‘Cristidorsa’ means ‘ridged dorsum’, which describes the distinct, characteristic ridges on the dorsal surface of the body in the new genus. The generic name is feminine and it consists of two parts, namely ‘Cristi-’ (meaning ‘ridged’) and ‘-dorsa’ (meaning ‘dorsum’). We suggest the English common name as ‘Ridged Dragons’ and the Chinese name as ‘棱背蜥’ (pronounced as ‘Leng-Bei-Shi’). 

Type species: Cristidorsa otai (Mahony, 2009).

Included species: Based on our phylogenetic results, we assign C. otai and C. planidorsata to the genus Cristidorsa.

Diploderma Hallowell, 1861 

Etymology: The Latin generic name ‘Diploderma’ consists of two parts, ‘Diplo-’ means ‘double’ or ‘many’, and ‘-derma’ means ‘skin’, and the whole word is in a neuter gender. As the previous generic name ‘Japalura’ and most species names of the genus s.l. are feminine, most names of species that are now assigned to Diploderma need their gender changed to neutral (except for existing neutral-gender names like brevipes or flaviceps, Latin nouns like vela or names derived from peoples’ names, i.e. dymondi, luei, makii, swinhonis, varcoae and zhaoermii). We suggest the English common name of the genus as ‘Mountain Dragon’, and the Chinese common name as ‘龙蜥’ (pronounced as ‘Long-Xi’). 

Type species: Diploderma polygonatum Hallowell, 1861.

Included species: Based on our phylogenetic results, we assign the following species into the genus Diploderma: D. batangense, D. brevipes, D. chapaense, D. dymondi, D. flaviceps, D. laeviventre, D. luei, D. makii, D. micangshanense, D. polygonatum (and all of its subspecies), D. slowinskii, D. splendidum, D. swinhonis, D. varcoae, D. vela, D. yulongense, D. yunnanense and D. zhaoermii

According to our proposed morphological diagnoses, we also assign Diploderma brevicaudum, D. fasciatum, D. grahami, D. hamptoni and D. iadinum to this genus, pending on future phylogenetic confirmations. In total, 24 species of Japalura s.l. are reclassified into the genus Diploderma (for discussion on the taxonomic status of D. ngoclinense see below).

Pseudocalotes Fitzinger, 1843 

Type species: Pseudocalotes tympanistriga (Gray, 1831).

Included species: A single species of Japalura s.l. Pseudocalotes kingdonwardi bapoensis, is reclassified into the genus Pseudocalotes. Currently, the genus includes 22 recognized species in total (Grismer et al., 2016a; Harvey et al., 2017).

Kai Wang, Jing Che, Simin Lin, V. Deepak, Datta-Roy Aniruddha, Ke Jiang, Jieqiong Jin, Hongman Chen and Cameron D. Siler. 2018. Multilocus Phylogeny and Revised Classification for Mountain Dragons of the Genus Japalura s.l. (Reptilia: Agamidae: Draconinae) from Asia. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. zly034.  DOI:  10.1093/zoolinnean/zly034 

[Botany • 2018] Thismia kelabitiana (Thismiaceae) • A New Unique Fairy Lantern from Borneo Potentially Threatened by Commercial Logging

Thismia kelabitiana Dančák, Hroneš & Sochor

in Dančák, Hroneš, Sochor & Sochorová, 2018.
Pa’Umor Fairy Lantern  ||  DOI:  10.1371/journal.pone.0203443 

Thismia kelabitiana, a new unique species from the Sarawak state of Malaysia in the island of Borneo is described and illustrated. This new species is not similar to any species of Thismia described so far especially by having a unique form of mitre and outer perianth lobes deeply divided into 8–10 acute lobes and forming striking fringe around perianth tube opening. The species appears to be critically endangered due to ongoing logging activities in the region. It may potentially become a surrogate species for lower montane forests of the region and thus help protect them against further destruction.

Fig 1. Thismia kelabitiana. A, Plant with flower bud. B, Plant with young flower. C, Plant with mature flower. D, Whole plant with root system. E, Detail of mitre and perianth opening. Photos Michal Sochor. 

Fig 3. Thismia kelabitiana. A, Habit of flowering plant. B, Side view of flower. C, Inner view of stamens. D, Style with stigma. E, Outer view of stamens. Drawn by Kateřina Janošíková.

Fig 2. Thismia kelabitiana. A, Outer view of stamens showing the lateral appendages and apical parts of connectives. B, Young capsule with persistent stigma. C, Inner view of stamens showing ribbed connectives. D, Seeds inside mature capsule. Photos Michal Sochor. 


Thismia kelabitiana Dančák, Hroneš & Sochor, sp. nov. 

Type. MALAYSIA, Sarawak: Kelabit Highlands, Pa'Umor village, Anak Kadi Ridge, 4.4 km SSE of the village. Elevation 1195 m a.s.l., 13 January 2017. M. Sochor, M. Hroneš, M. Dančák, Z. Egertová & J.R. Pasan BOR1/17 (holotype SAR [in spirit and herbarium specimen, accession number Sochor/BOR-1/17], isotype OL [35272]).

Diagnosis. Thismia kelabitiana differs significantly from all congeneric species by the combination of the following traits, e.g., flowers large (up to 2.8 × 1.8 cm), outer perianth lobes deeply divided into 8–10 acute lobes and forming striking fringe around perianth tube opening, mitre relatively small and flat elevated by three long filiform pillars, connectives with prominent longitudinal rib and three appendices on apical margin.

Fig 4. Habitat of Thismia kelabitiana. Ravine of a small stream in lower montane tropical rain forest. Photo Michal Sochor.

Habitat and ecology. The species occurs in lower montane primary tropical rainforest at an altitude around 1200 m a. s. l. It was found in humid stream ravines as well as in relatively drier open forest sites (Fig 4). A variety of other mycoheterotrophic species were abundant at the type locality, including Aphyllorchis pallida, Burmannia lutescens agg., B. championii, Cystorchis aphylla, Gymnosiphon aphyllus agg., Epirixanthes kinabaluensis, Exacum tenue, Platanthera saprophytica, Sciaphila arfakiana, S. cf. nana, S. tenella, Thismia cornuta, T. minutissima ined., T. aff. nigra and T. viridistriata. Herbaceous vegetation was otherwise sparse. Thismia kelabitiana seems not to prefer any particular environmental conditions at the locality as it occurs in various aspects of slopes with various inclinations either in rugged ravines or relatively flat terrain in various distances from a stream.

Distribution. The species is known only from the type locality and the other, 600 m distant locality, where plants have only been photographed. Both localities are found on a ridge south-east from Pa’Umor village in the Bario district of Sarawak (Malaysia).

Etymology. The specific epithet reflects the geographical origin of the species in the Kelabit Highlands, the land of the Kelabit people.

Common name. Pa’Umor Fairy Lantern. There is no widely accepted generic common name for the genus Thismia. The recent wave of interest as well as potential conservational employment, nevertheless, calls for this name. Sometimes the name Fairy Lantern is used [Thiele & Jordan, 2012, Lưu et al., 2014] which has originally belonged to Thismia rodwayi (either in singular or plural form as Fairy Lanterns). Since the name has already been used for a few other Thismia species, we follow this approach. We suggest calling Thismia kelabitiana Pa’Umor Fairy Lantern. The name is derived from Pa’Umor village community in whose forest the species occurs.

Martin Dančák, Michal Hroneš, Michal Sochor and Zuzana Sochorová. 2018. Thismia kelabitiana (Thismiaceae), A New Unique Fairy Lantern from Borneo Potentially Threatened by Commercial Logging.  PLoS ONE. 13(10): e0203443.  DOI:  10.1371/journal.pone.0203443